Flooding across Tangipahoa Parish delayed Devonta Smith’s college commitment scheduled for Monday. The weather may have done more than just postpone the announcement.
Smith, a 4-star wide receiver from Amite (La.) High School, was expected to choose LSU, Alabama or Miami earlier this week. He rescinded his verbal pledge to Georgia last year after coach Mark Richt’s dismissal from the SEC East program. Those close to Smith believed the decision was made months ago. Recent activity on the recruiting front suggests otherwise.
As the weather slowly clears up in Louisiana, Smith has not set a new date for his announcement.
Smith always wanted to commit prior to his senior season. The decision has become more difficult and muddled. According to a source close to Smith’s recruitment, “nobody really knows at this point” when the Louisiana receiver will commit. Smith wants to figure out his recruitment and focus on winning a state championship for Amite.
Alabama vaulted to the top of Smith’s wish list when he reopened his recruitment. The obvious connections are there, everything from Tide defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt to assistant director of player personnel Sam Petitto, who is from Amite. Alabama freshman corner Shyheim Carter is one of Smith’s best friends.
This spring and summer, however, allowed two more contenders to jump into the mix.
The first should be obvious. Richt landed at Miami, his alma mater. The former Georgia head coach has prioritized the elite wide receiver who once committed to him. Miami has made strides with Smith this summer. The 6-foot-1, 165-pound product visited Coral Gables, Fla., in July and rekindled relationships with the coaching staff. Smith has a lot of trust in Richt and believes he’s turning around the Hurricanes.
The other new contender is LSU. Once Dameyune Craig took over as LSU’s wide receivers coach in February, Smith was made priority No. 1A. Craig and area recruiter Ed Orgeron have been active since the spring. Smith attended several spring practices, recruiting events, the June prospect camp and the July team barbecue. Smith grew up as a fan of the hometown Tigers. He was hesitant about playing in a run-dominated offense. Those fears have been quelled, though. Smith was assured he can be a No. 1 receiver in any sort of scheme. LSU will lose Malachi Dupre and Travin Dural to the NFL after this fall. That could open a path for Smith to procure a major role in the offense next fall.
Alabama no longer is a distant front-runner. LSU and Miami have asserted themselves in the race. Smith’s delayed announcement gives the Tigers and Hurricanes ample opportunity to make up ground.
LSU is saving a spot in its 2017 recruiting class for a fourth wide receiver. It would jump at the opportunity to fill it with the in-state star. With added time, expect Craig and Orgeron to devote much of their attention this fall to courting Smith. About a month ago, LSU was a long shot to land Smith. Now the odds have improved greatly.
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.
Sam Spiegelman covers LSU football recruiting for SECCountry.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play in Tiger Stadium.